Erosion and sediment control (ESC) on construction sites

The State Planning Policy and  Planning Act 2016 (Plg Act) regulate future planning and development, and development approvals should include provisions relating to construction and operation of developments. Not all activities undertaken that have the risk of causing environmental harm, require development approval under the Plg Act (e.g. building works approved only under the Building Act 1975 or plumbing and drainage works approved under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 or Development under the 2500 square metre threshold in the SPP Water quality Interim Development provisions)  and not all development approvals have adequate or specific provisions regulating the management of erosion and sediment controls.

Land and infrastructure development (all residential, commercial, industrial and public infrastructure developments on land, such as subdivisions, roads, rail, bulk water distribution and hospitals) are subject to legal requirements for depositing prescribed water contaminants in waters, including water contamination caused by the release of sediments during the construction stage of urban land development under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act).

    Updated Procedural Guides

    The Department has prepared compliance to provide officers, authorised under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act), with a tool for undertaking erosion and sediment control (ESC) compliance inspections and guidance to apply enforcement provisions under the EP Act at land development and construction sites on land 2500m2 or greater.

    These documents have been applied on construction and land development sites across Queensland by departmental officers and Local Governments with delegation under the EP Act and by industry in designing and implementing Erosion and sediment controls. These Procedural guides have been reviewed for application across Queensland and to incorporate evolving sediment management technologies including high efficiency sediment basins.

    Erosion and sediment control online tools for the building and construction sectors

    Online  tools to assist the building and construction sectors to meet their erosion and sediment control requirements have been prepared by the Department, Master Builders Queensland, the Housing Industry Association (Qld) and Healthy Land and Water Ltd. .

    The factsheets and compliance guidelines provide technical advice and mobile user-friendly checklists to prevent sediment leaving building and construction sites and reaching our local waterways, Moreton Bay and the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

    These resources are available on the Healthy Land & Water ESC Toolkit page.

    Over 40,000 hectares of urban expansion is required for the construction of 740,000 new homes in south-east Queensland by 2031. To reduce the risk of major increases in sediment, nutrients and toxicants to SEQ waterways and Moreton Bay, best practice land development and its construction is essential—and these tools will assist industry and Local Governments to achieve legislative compliance.

    These on-line tools will also assist in reducing sediment sources from urban development entering the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. These form part of the actions under the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan including the specific requirements, to implement best practice stormwater management (e.g. erosion and sediment control, water sensitive urban design and capture of gross pollutants) for new development in coastal catchments and build capacity for local government and industry to improve water quality management in urban areas.